Steps to plan a virtual school dance

Monday, 22 June, 2020

Now that you know the benefits of having a virtual dance for your school, where do you even start? As I mentioned in my last post, it is so important that your virtual dance be extremely engaging and fun for the students. They have an endless number of things to do on their phones, so you need to really work to keep them engaged.

To start…

  1. Choose a date – If you previously had an in-person dance scheduled, I would suggest using that. If you don’t already have a date scheduled, I would choose a Saturday or Friday and pick a time in the evening. It is important that you are really simulating a dance experience and choosing a typical dance time helps. If you are just planning a virtual prom or dance for your school, I would suggest not having it be more than 2 hours. Because Virtual Prom Live was for students across the country, we were able to get engagement at different points of the night, but three hours still felt like a long time to be behind a screen.
  2. Find and acquire entertainment – What type of entertainment do you usually have at your dances, a DJ, a band? Many local DJs are struggling, COVID has had a tremendous impact on their business. By either charging a nominal amount for tickets or using already fundraised money, you can help support these DJs who for many months have been out of work. When choosing entertainment, it is CRITICAL that you find a DJ who has experience with live streaming. In-person DJing and live streaming are different animals that require technical experience and tools that not every DJ has. DJs who are experienced in live streaming also know how to engage an audience through a screen.
  3. Purchase or seek donations for giveaways – Every student loves some free stuff, so work with local or national businesses to get some cool stuff to give away. If your dance is for a specific club or for younger classmen, maybe offer some school swag. Or, if you have seniors get some gift cards to places like Target or Chipotle. Throughout each of our dances, we gave away 4-5 prizes throughout the night (ours was 3 hours). You also can get a crown or giveaway from homecoming or prom king and queen, which they can vote on throughout the night.
  4. Decide on a technology – Before deciding on a technology to stream with, you need to figure out a couple of logistics. Do you want students to be able to video chat? Do you have enough faculty to moderate the chats? Do you want to be able to delete chats, kick students out, keep it restricted? There are a lot of different technologies out there. For Virtual Prom Live we used Hopin, but you could also use Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Facebook. Because there are so many technologies, if you have more specific questions on organizing that piece, please reach out to us at hello@myschooldance.com.
  5. Promote your dance and sell tickets – HYPE the dance up. You want the students to want to go for many of the reasons we shared in our last post. If you are hoping to raise some funds from this dance, you definitely want people to attend. Because more than likely you are not in school, you need a way to sell your tickets online, which is where My School Dance comes in. Even if you are in school, online ticket sales is a great way to socially distance sell tickets to your dance. For the foreseeable future, your students probably won’t be gathering at lunch in lines to buy tickets and turn forms in, so My School Dance will do all of this for you. If you’re not signed up, sign up today for 50% off processing fees. My School Dance is free for your school to use, so there’s no risk!
  6. Give your students clear instructions and fun ideas – To make sure that those students who purchase tickets actually attend and have fun, it is important to be very clear with instructions. Create a ‘How-To’ guide for joining the dance, and make sure that they understand what it will be like. You can make promotional materials online for free using Canva. In order to create a true dance experience, give the students fun ideas: decoration ideas, meal ideas with dates or family, outfit/hair/makeup ideas, activity ideas for before or after, just anything to make them feel like they are doing something more than just listening to a DJ on a computer screen.
  7. Rehearse – Because more than likely you’ve never done this before, you have to rehearse with all planning members involved: DJ, chaperones, volunteers, MCs, and anyone else who will appear onscreen. We recommend doing this a few days before to work out any kinks.
  8. DANCE – When it is time for the dance, let the magic happen. Engage students with polls, questions, voting, social media contests, giveaways, dance contests, decoration contests, dinner contests, dress contests, and whatever you can think of. I promise you that even though it is sort of a weird situation, your students will be so grateful that you took to the time out to provide them with a night of different fun.

I said it before, and I will say it here, a virtual dance will never replace an in-person dance, but at least it’s something. It’s unclear when school events will happen again, so providing students with some way to engage with classmates for a carefree night keeps them out of trouble, reduces boredom, and shows that you care about their wellbeing. If you have any questions or would like us to help you plan your first virtual homecoming, virtual prom, or virtual dance, please reach out at hello@myschooldance.com.

Happy Dancing!

If you missed the first blog post in this two-part series, you can check it out here: Planning Your Virtual School Dance

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Planning a Virtual School Dance

Wednesday, 10 June, 2020

The one thing we thought would never go away, would never change, was the school dance. Prom, in particular, is one of the most significant events of a high school student’s career, a rite of passage that culminates their four years of hard work.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 created a problem we never imagined; students could no longer be together in the same place with their peers. COVID-19 set off a ripple in schools that affected not only academic learning but social and emotional development (SEL) as well. Developing relationships during adolescent years lays the foundation for future relationship success as students move to college and/or career.

If you follow school dances at all, which I assume you do being that you are reading this article, you might know that when it was clear that in-person school events would not be happening at the end of 2020, many organizations and groups began organizing virtual proms. Teen Vogue, MTV, various radio stations, social media platforms, schools, and even individual students worked to create meaningful experiences that connected friends from a distance and celebrated the accomplishments of the year. As the leader in online school-dance management platforms, My School Dance also sought to determine how to provide a prom experience to our schools and students. We decided to provide a unique virtual prom experience, which we called Virtual Prom Live, where we were able to simulate the best experience possible for students whose proms were canceled.

I wanted to share our experience in a 2-part blog series called Planning Your Virtual Dances. In this post, I will highlight what a virtual dance or virtual prom is, and what the benefits of having a virtual school event of any kind are. In the next post, I will share how to plan a virtual dance or event for your students.

What is a Virtual Dance or Virtual Prom?

In this post, I am going to refer mostly to our specific initiative, Virtual Prom Live, but this can be applied to most virtual dances and some virtual school events.

The main features of a virtual school dance are fairly consistent across the board:

  • Live talent, typically a DJ or maybe a band, playing popular music for 1-3 hours
  • A platform that allows students to view the entertainment and interact with other attendees
  • Contests, giveaways, and other ways to get students to interact with each other
  • Moderators who act as chaperones for the dance to ensure all students are respected

Optional add-ins for engagement and positivity include:

  • Influencer appearances
  • Discounts for items such as dress rentals, tux rentals, shoes, flowers, and food
  • Options for video communication between students (this piece is extremely challenging if you are organizing a virtual dance for students not in the same school)
  • Social media engagement with students before, during, and after the event

Virtual Prom Live hosted four different proms, each focused on a specific U.S. time zone. We gathered students from schools around the country into one place where we streamed live DJ talent, featured over 25 influencers, and provided giveaways from companies such as Enso Rings, Crocs, Charlotte’s Closet, and Door Dash. Students had the ability to chat in a moderated section with kids from around the U.S. and Canada and were encouraged to form group video chats either with friends, schools, or others in the event. We had specific vendors who provided discounts on tuxes (Friar Tux, The Black Tux) and dresses (Charlotte’s Closet), which many students wore, took traditional prom photos, and had dinners put together by family.

Benefits of a Virtual School Dance

The most important thing for Virtual Prom Live was that we simulated as much as possible a true prom experience. We know that a virtual school dance will never replace in-person interactions, but our hope is that we were able to provide some semblance of excitement for students who were stuck inside for weeks.

Some of the benefits of virtual dances are:

  • Shows students you care – Overnight the lives of your students completely changed. They were torn away from friends, teachers, classrooms, and end-of-year activities. Even though a virtual school dance will not replace the real thing, it is a step in the right direction to show your students that you care about their wellbeing, their social and emotional development, and their desire for celebration.
  • Gives students something to do – Let’s be honest, students are BORED. TikTok has had over 2 BILLION downloads, and there is only so much Netflix that can be watched. To prevent your students from getting bored, which can sometimes lead to not-so-great things, give them something to look forward to like prom night. Picking out a dress, getting ready, creating excitement with friends are all positive things students can focus their energy on outside of schoolwork.
  • Offers a safe space for certain students – Interestingly, from our experience with Virtual Prom Live, we noticed that many students thrived in a virtual environment who would not normally thrive in an in-person school dance. Just like how every person learns differently, I also believe that every person socializes differently. Some feel more comfortable being who they truly are behind a screen. Even when in-person dances begin again, there might be something to be said for having the option of a virtual pop-in for those students who might not otherwise attend or be as engaged in a dance.
  • Helps support local businesses – The events industry has struggled more during COVID-19 shutdowns than most and continues to struggle as at this moment, many states are still not allowing gatherings for more than 50 people. By organizing a virtual prom or dance, you can help provide income during this challenging time to local businesses like dress/tux shops, florists, DJs, and more.

Again, I would never say that a virtual school dance could replace an in-person one, they are just not the same. However, I do think there are benefits to having a virtual option over no option, and I also believe there might be a need in the future for hybrid school dances both online and offline. In the next blog post, I will give you some guidance on how exactly you can begin to plan a virtual dance for your school or organization. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us at hello@myschooldance.com or hello@virtualprom.live.

Happy Dancing!

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Working from home, not working? Try this.

Monday, 13 April, 2020

As educators, and as parents, planning and time management are essential skills to be productive and effective in the classroom and in the home.   The new challenge of working from home includes juggling learning new software or programming to connect with students, trying to adjust the lesson plans that you had for the remainder of the year, and trying to find a new definition to the work/life balance.  At the start it was supposed to be a short-term challenge, now it is an ongoing situation for an indeterminate time period, and you may need to take a look at “how” you are working from home.

Create a defined schedule.  Going to work each day, you had a schedule and routines.   It is very easy to get lax about time and that cuts into your productivity.  Not all of your time will be spent connecting with students so plan ahead how to define your time during work hours.  When creating a schedule, plot out the hours of the day and set your ‘workday’.   There are several sites that allow you to create your own planner that includes the days of the week with hourly blocks of time.  Follow your daily routine, set your alarm, shower, get dressed, and begin your day as a working day.  Be sure to take breaks but set an alarm to get back on task at the end of the break.

Create a designated workspace.  If you do not already have an office, set a place in your home as your work area.  When you ‘go to work’ allow that space to be somewhere with few distractions and definitely not an area you use as a lounging place, like the couch.  Having a television that handy will make it too easy to say, “I’ll take a five-minute break” to watch a show you enjoy.  An hour later, you realize how much time you’ve lost.   If you need to, buy a small desk, or use a vanity as a desk, or if space is limited you can even get a wall-mounted desk that folds up when not in use.  Find a space in your home that is not being used, as your office.

Set boundaries.  Just as your space is defined, be sure to let everyone you share your home with know that when you are working to not interrupt.  Create a signal that you are in work mode, like shutting a door if you are in a bedroom or a room used as an office at home.  If your office space is in a general area, create a sign to set up on your desk that you are at work to remind those around you to respect your space.  If you have noise-cancelling headphones those work to both block out noise and as a reminder that you are “at work”.    The boundaries include you not taking calls or answering emails after your set work hours.  It is very easy for the workday hours to become blurred and you begin to feel that you are always working, which can add an element of stress to your life.  Stick to your set workday.

Spend time with your team and a mentor.  Continue to have a set time to connect with other team members.  Plan a weekly Zoom meeting to discuss how things are going, what is working, and what isn’t working.  Zoom is a video meeting tool that allows you to hold 40-minute meetings for free.  Set guidelines in advance for the meeting, like the subject of the meeting and rules for the meeting.  If the session begins to turn towards a format to complain, get the session back on track.  The sessions can be recorded for each of you to refer back to until the next meeting.  Also, look for a mentor to help with ideas, someone who has done homeschooling or who is in the midst of a homeschool year.   They can assist with the “how” you work from home.

 

We may all be in this together, but there are times when it might feel overwhelming making the switch from teaching in the classroom to teach from your dining room.  If you plan, when to work, where to work,  and how you work it creates an element of control in a situation where it feels like we are not in control.  It also helps your productivity and effectiveness, and each day, when the weather allows, get outside.  It is a stress reliever and it helps boost your Vitamin D, too.  Being outside gives you the opportunity to be away from work and to unplug.   We may not have planned to wrap up the school year this way, but we can plan how to handle it and thrive during it.

Written by Midge Brody

If you want more activities or tips for your you and your kids, check out this blog post next: School Closures – Activities To Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Active

 

But wait! That’s not all. Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Contact:

hello@myschooldance.com

833-336-8656

 

 

 

#SAVE PROM: Virtual Prom 2020

Monday, 6 April, 2020

Saturday Nights from April 18 – May 9

We are all affected by the closures and regulations in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Canceled vacations, postponed weddings, and abrupt school closures are just a few of the ways our lives have been impacted.  For high school students, social distancing means no school events – including prom.  My School Dance has teamed up with Virtual Prom Live and No Kid Hungry to bring the party to your living room while raising money for a great cause.

My two high school daughters have been struggling with the fact they may not see their friends again for weeks, perhaps even months.  My high school senior had already picked out a prom dress and was eagerly awaiting the big event. Then her school closed. 

I was trying to come up with a way she could still have some kind of “prom” event with her friends online, but organizing something like this was all new to me.  That’s why I was so excited to learn that people far wiser than I had already planned just such an event. 

My School Dance, partnering with Virtual Prom Live, have joined forces to create not just one but a series of online prom events for students across the country.  Not only are these events free, but money being raised through donations is going towards feeding hungry families.  

Free For All

Every Saturday night from April 18 – May 9, students can participate in a virtual prom experience along with 1,000’s of students across the country.  A live DJ will play music, sponsors will provide contests and prizes, and kids can dance in their living room while interacting with friends digitally.  

In addition to free registration, an online clothing boutique is also lending party attire to young ladies who may not have lined up their dress for the evening yet.  Dresses are limited, and more information can be found by contacting help@charlottes-closet.com.  

A Party For A Good Cause

Although the virtual prom events are completely free, it’s a great opportunity to give to a good cause.  Donations to an organization called  No Kid Hungry are being raised to help feed people who are having difficulty during this challenging time.  What a great way to give back. I was going to suggest to my daughter that she donate some of the money she would have spent on hair, makeup and a prom ticket to  No Kid Hungry.  Thinking of the needs of others is always a great lesson for my kiddos!

How To Join The Party

Getting signed up is easy – all you need to do is visit Virtual Prom Live and choose a date that you would like to attend.  Regional events are planned each Saturday evening from April 18 – May 9.  Students can sign up for any date and time, no matter where they live. 

Each virtual prom event will feature a different DJ and start time.  For example, the virtual prom on April 18 is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm Mountain Time.  DJ Joune, the official DJ of the Utah Jazz will be spinning tunes throughout the evening! No matter which night your student “attends,” it is designed to be entertaining, interactive and memorable.

Kids can share the link and encourage their friends to register as well.  They can then interact online during the event, making it even more unforgettable.  What a great way to have fun and make a difference for others, while celebrating prom in a unique way.  It is sure to be a story our kids tell for years to come!

Check out Virtual Prom Live on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok (@VirtualPromLive)!

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Contact:

hello@myschooldance.com

833-336-8656

Written by: Angela O’Brien

School Closures – Activities To Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Active

Monday, 23 March, 2020

Across the country, life has changed dramatically these past couple of weeks.  My school district closed on Friday the 13th. One minute I was helping my students rush to pack up their belongings for unplanned school closure.  Later that day I was home with my children, wondering how I was going to structure the days and possibly weeks ahead.

Being stuck at home for a day or two because of a snowstorm or illness is one thing, but finding ourselves unexpectedly home for an extended (and unknown) period of time is a completely different situation.  

There are only so many times you can do the dishes in a day, and believe me, I’m pretty sure I’ve found the limit.  My dishpan hands can attest to that! Beyond chores (funny how my kids kept hiding every time I called their name….) it seems helpful to have a grab-bag of kids activities to make the most of this unexpected time at home.

Online Adventures

Using the internet to our advantage in these strange times is particularly helpful since most of our children tend to gravitate towards their devices.  If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – and by offering some educational or active options, you can sneak in a little learning and exercise too! Check out these suggestions:

Virtual Field Trips – the whole family can enjoy a virtual trip to a National Park, a glacier in Iceland, or a famous tourist destination like the Eiffel Tower.  Some of these sites feature 360 degree filming technology, allowing the viewer to rotate the screen to see a panoramic image. 

  • National Geographic – 47 videos and counting of destinations around the world
  • Google Earth – visit literally any place on Earth.  Has “voyages” as well, like “world’s largest lakes”
  • Visit Mars – get inside a rover and explore another planet, courtesy of images from NASA
  • Go to the Zoo – the San Diego Zoo is world-class and offers many live webcams

Free Online Art – many artists have taken to YouTube to provide free lessons for kids and adults.  

Yoga for Kids – YouTube is another great resource for getting your kids up and active.  Yoga provides movement, requires little space, and relieves stress – all useful things right now!

  • Cosmic Kids Yoga includes stories, colorful images and mindfulness techniques.  Great for younger children.
  • Yoga with Adriene has been one of my favorites for years (she’s the reason I started practicing yoga).  Her calm demeanor and variety of videos for all ages and needs may inspire you to hit that “subscribe” button.

Old School Activities

When your kids need a break from the internet, think back to the types of things we did when we were young.  Board games, roller skating, and climbing trees were my favorite pastimes. Getting offline is good for the soul, and creates opportunities for making memories together.

  • Explore the kitchen and bake up a tasty treat with your kids.  Some of my favorite food blogs are:
  • Send them out to the yard with a container of bubbles, sidewalk chalk or a soccer ball.  
  • No yard or yucky weather?  Here’s a list of 25 ideas for indoor fun that require little to no supplies.
  • Break out the board games you have stored away (mine were collecting dust until recently) or a deck of cards for games like “go fish” and “war”.  

Whether you decide to bake a 3 layer cake from scratch or spend the day in your pj’s binge-watching Netflix, enjoy these moments with your family.  Give yourself permission to have days where nothing is scheduled. The most important lesson you are teaching your kids is how to respond in a time of crisis.  Applaud your efforts to maintain a sense of normalcy for your family, and don’t forget that you need time for yourself as well. 

My School Dance is offering 50% off processing fees for schools still planning to host their dances this year.

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Contact:

hello@myschooldance.com

833-336-8656

Written by: Angela O’Brien

What to do when you are stuck at home for COVID-19

Monday, 16 March, 2020

When you were making fun and exciting plans for what to do during Spring Break with friends you weren’t planning on being restricted from so much due to an outbreak of COVID-19.  All you can think about is what you can’t do, but there are still some great things you can do to have fun during this unexpected Spring Break.

Very small group activities

Plan a spa day either just you or with a couple of friends.  This is something you can do all together at someone’s house. Each person can look up facial treatments, hair mask recipes, and foot bath soaks.  Many of these have ingredients you can find right in your own kitchen or bathroom cabinet.  Play up the whole experience and play music from the spa music station or you can google ‘spa music’ and stream it on your computer.  You might want to save this one for the last couple of days, so you are looking your absolute best when you go back to school.

If you get some friends together, you can have a lip sync challenge.  Pick a few songs and draw names from a hat to challenge each other.  Or one night get your friends together and host your own Chopped Cooking Challenge.  It could be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.  Break into teams and each team picks a surprise item for the other team that they have to use!  Then have a great time eating all the goodies.   Get a couple of friends or your significant other together and all take an online cooking class.  Step outside your comfort zone and try something new and different.

Solo Activities

On your own?  Here are a few things you can do.  Go through your closet, take out things that you haven’t worn in the last year, and put them in a bag, basket, or box to donate.  Then go through and organize your closet.  If you go one step further pre-plan outfits for the first week back at school.

Try out some of the language learning apps and try out another language.  Make a bucket list of things you want to do over the summer.  Check out a YouTube video to learn how to play an instrument.  Better yet, pick a skill or hobby and make your own YouTube video!   Try out yoga or meditation.  Rearrange your room or remodel your room.  Simply changing the paint color can make a huge difference.  Check out some of the newest books at the library or on Audible.

Activities with littles

Now here is the real challenge, what to do if you’re spending Spring Break with young children.   Just a few ideas of what to do with the littles.  Just because you’re restricted from going to places with large groups doesn’t mean you can’t get outside.  Create a list of games to play outside or create an obstacle course– be sure to include crossing over a ‘lava pit’ or a ‘river filled with crocodiles’!  Make cookies, build a blanket fort, and have a picnic.   Play pirate and hunt for treasure.   Try exercising to an exercise video streamed on your computer or television.  This ends up being more giggling than exercising.  Spend an afternoon with them writing a thank you letter to a mom/dad, a grandparent, friend, a relative, or a teacher (this would be an extra special surprise for him or her).  Something kids of all ages would love, write a story and make a video of them acting out the story you wrote together.  Then make popcorn and watch the video together.  You could have a mini-movie-thon of all their favorite movies.  Create a book of all their favorite things or make a pop-up book.

Whether you spend this time on your own, with a couple of friends, or spending time with littles, make the time filled with good things to refresh your mind and body.   Getting outside, doing something new, trying different foods or learning something new that isn’t school-related can do much to recharge before you head back to school, homework, tests, studying, projects, and the books.  Right now, just breathe, relax and have a great time.

Check out our Pinterest page for more information!

If your school is still planning to host the prom, but you cannot sell tickets due to students not being in school, sell your tickets online through My School Dance. We are offering 50% off processing fees for all of the prom due to coronavirus.

Prom Safety for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Wednesday, 11 March, 2020

You’ve probably spent months planning your school’s spring prom – the hallmark event for your seniors. However, amidst fears about the threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19), some schools are contemplating canceling large social events altogether. While each school’s decision is completely discretionary, if your school does decide to proceed with having a prom or other large social event, here are some tips to keep things clean and sanitary:

  1. Hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE – You can never have enough hand sanitizer. Keep hand sanitizer stations convenient throughout your event space. Perhaps even give it to students as a favor at the dance.
  2. Circulation – If your prom is in a place where you can open windows or doors (weather permitting), do so to allow circulation throughout the event.
  3. Offer a mask decorating station – If you are extremely concerned about the spread of germs, ask all students to wear masks. Consider a mask decorating contest using fun jewels, stickers, or markers to align with your theme.
  4. Consider alternative activities to dancing – Proms can be challenging, especially asking students to avoid close physical contact. Instead of facilitating a dance floor, consider other activities instead of dancing where you can properly sterilize things. Some examples of this would be video game or board game stations (with sanitizing wipes nearby), outdoor games or a field day (weather permitting), an outside picnic, or simply good music and a nice dinner, without dancing.
  5. Make all attendees sign a waiver that they will not come if experiencing signs of sickness – Recently a person attended a dance that ignored a directive not to attend due to potential exposure and cited that it was because he was “never told”. Most schools have students, parents, and out of school guests sign off on behavioral agreements to attend the prom, and if your school does not do this, we highly recommend it to reduce liabilities. My School Dance allows you to customize these agreements for electronic distribution to all necessary parties. An example of a clause you could put in at the bottom of your agreement is: “If in the last two weeks, you or someone living in your house has been experiencing flu-like symptoms or has been in contact with someone carrying COVID-19, you are not permitted to attend the dance. If found in violation of this, you could face disciplinary or legal action and will endanger hundreds of other students and families. Please be respectful of the health of our community.”

We hope you still want to provide your students with a memorable prom experience with the right precautions. If you choose to cancel or postpone your prom, that is ok to do as well. The health and safety of your students are first and foremost above everything.

Stay informed. The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are updating their sites with the latest information.

Happy Dancing,

My School Dance

St. Patrick’s Day – A Golden Opportunity for Festive Learning

Monday, 9 March, 2020

March 9, 2020

Thinking about how to bring St. Patrick’s Day into the classroom for your high schoolers this year?  There are a variety of ways to use this holiday as a teaching opportunity, while also enjoying the whimsy and charm of rainbows and leprechauns.  

St. Patrick’s Day is a special day for me – as my name suggests, I come from Irish stock and have the freckles to prove it.   My three children are now in high school, but they still enjoy decorating the house with lots of gold, green and shamrocks.

Something our high schoolers may not realize is that St. Patrick’s Day is more than four-leaf clovers and rivers dyed green (shout-out to Chicago where My School Dance is based!)  Our students can definitely benefit from learning more about the holiday and how it is celebrated – on both sides of the pond.

St. Patrick’s Day Customs and Traditions  

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated as Ireland’s National Holiday, and banks, schools and some businesses close for the day.  There are parades throughout the country, and some people observe the day by going to church or spending the day with family.   

Here are some lessons and information you can share with your students about this day:

  • Visit History.com to find information on who St. Patrick was, the history of the holiday, and other facts and traditions.  You can even assign the link on Google Classroom and let students explore, then report back with their findings.
  • The NEA (National Education Association) has put together a wonderful list with ideas for free lessons, activities, videos and books to read about St. Patrick’s Day.

Fact vs. Fiction

Debunk the myths about St. Patrick’s day by exploring some sites that delve into the facts and fiction about the holiday.  Did you know, for example, that the original color of St. Patrick’s Day was blue? Ask your students to research this, and other interesting tidbits and in teams and report back.  Incorporating technology by sharing what they have learned via Google Slides or other digital platforms can be an added bonus.

Irish Literature & Folktales 

St. Patrick’s Day is a great reason to explore Irish literature and folktales with your students.  Of course, English teachers likely have more than a few of these authors in their repertoire. Just in case, here are some lists and free links to Irish literature that may help round out your St. Patrick’s Day instruction:

School Spirit and Whimsical Celebrations

Now for the rainbows, leprechauns, and pots of gold I promised.  St. Patrick’s Day is a self-designated spirit day, as students are most likely going to wear green anyways to avoid the dreaded St. Patrick’s Day pinch.  As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  

  • Enlist the ASB, Activities, or student leadership/culture organizations you may have on campus to promote the day with posters, announcements, and social media messages.  Give out prizes in various categories: most original and most school spirit, for example.
  • Do a door decorating contest, again using your student leaders to spread the word.  Prizes encourage participation!
  • Food – while fish and chips in your math class may not be feasible, what about another classic: Irish soda bread.  Many grocery stores sell it around this time of year. Or, give out a recipe like this one and have students work in teams to bake a loaf at home and bring it in to share.  Offer lucky Irish extra credit for participation.

Having a St. Patrick’s Day dance or event?! Manage it for free with My School Dance!

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Contact:

hello@myschooldance.com

833-336-8656

Written by: Angela O’Brien

Prom, the 2020s meet the Roaring 1920s!

Monday, 2 March, 2020

March 2, 2020

The first Prom Committee meeting is underway and you’re looking for the best prom ideas- epic prom ideas.  The year is 2020 and someone suggests, The Roaring 20s!  I mean it’s perfect, right? Now what?  Where do you go from here?    Take one this suggestion one step further with the ideal theme.  There are some great iconic 1920s songs, phrases, and cultural images that come to mind that would make the perfect prom theme.  This was the age of Jazz, the Charleston dance craze, the Great Gatsby, Swing music and dancing, New York jazz clubs, Chicago gangsters, flappers, and speakeasies.

Our top ten roaring 20s theme suggestions:  All That Jazz – The Great Gatsby – Dixieland Ballroom – Swing City Blues – Rhapsody in Blue – Puttin’ on the Ritz – The Cotton Club – Ragtime Ball – Southside Swing – Windy City Speakeasy or Chicago Speakeasy or even better look up some of the names of your hometown historic speakeasies!

You’ve picked your theme now choose the colors you’re going to use for everything from the invitations to the decorations.  The classic style for the 1920s era was Art Deco and a great color scheme for any of these prom themes is black, gold, and white.  If you choose Swing City Blues, replace the black with blue.  If you use Rhapsody in Blue, try using blue, black and white/gold.

Depending on your chosen theme, add to your list of decorations jazz musician silhouettes, a Rolls Royce cut out, art deco columns, or a backroom speakeasy backdrop.  Table decorations of white plumed feathers or an art deco style light with each table named for a 20s dance, slang phrase, or person: The Bees Knees, The Cat’s Pajamas, The Lindy Hop, Bugsy’s, or Capone’s.  Placemats made to look like newspaper headlines captured from the 1920s would make a great keepsake to use for scrapbooks with pictures.

Get a photo frame or photo album keepsake engraved with the prom theme name and your class year using an art deco font.  Each printing service offers its own selection of fonts and most likely will have an  “art deco” font.  Some other common fonts would be: Bernhard Fashion, Blakely, Broadway, Metropolis, Mona Lisa Recut, Mostra, and one of our favorites, Silvermoon.  Be sure to pick up props with headbands, gangster fedoras, beads, feathers, and lace fans for great keepsake photos. Check out our favorite decor and favor retailer Anderson’s!

Now, to make prom not just a dance, but an EPIC experience.  What’s great about having a theme based around the Roaring 20s are not just the amazing decoration ideas, but activities you can have leading up to prom to get your classmates excited and involved in prom.

Here are just a few ideas to get everyone ramped up for the big day.  Host a silent movie night in the school auditorium, you could even talk to the band director and get the school orchestra to play music for the films!  Contact the local historical society and host a 1920s fashion show to get your classmates in the mood for dressing the part.  Announce that there will be ribbons or prizes to the best-dressed couple, the best ‘Zoot Suit’, and the best ‘Flapper’.  Have Roaring 20s trivia during lunch periods at school during prom week and have Charleston and Swing Dance lessons during the week.

When prom night arrives, have the DJ or band play the top songs of the era and stage great photo opps as they enter with the jazz musicians, Rolls Royce, and art deco columns.  Get one of the teachers (even better the principal and vice-principal!) to dress as maître ds to escort couples to their tables.  At various locations, have the prop tables set up for additional pictures throughout the night to make for some great memories.  Since you’ve had the Charleston and Swing Dance lessons that week, hold a dance contest!

No matter what theme you choose, get ready to have a Roaring Good Time! Sell your tickets online for free with My School Dance! Half off processing fees for prom!

Written by Midge Brody

If you want more activities or tips for your school, check out these blog posts next: The Ultimate Prom Planning Timeline, 3 Ways To Effective Classroom Management.

 

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